Networked Saving Program

Networked Saving makes it possible for a working family to save for a down payment on a home—while paying the same rent that they’ve already been paying. This turns permanent renters into permanent homeowners. And that changes neighborhoods, communities and lives—for generations to come.



A program that makes an impact

In 2016, the Networked Savings Program was recognized as a Classy Award Finalists and named one of the World’s 100 most innovative non-profit programs (read more).


Networked Savings Program 

The Networked Savings Program is a 2-year residential program for individuals and families who are hoping to purchase their first home in the Aurora, IL community. Following the application process, eligible families will move into one of The Neighbor Project’s apartments (located on the east and west sides of Aurora) and will pay market rate rent, but a portion of their monthly rent payment will be deposited into a savings account that will be returned to the family at the end of their program to be used as a down payment on a home purchase. At the end of the 2-year program, families will save what equals about 1 full years’ worth of rent (between $10-14K). During the program, families receive on-going homebuyer counseling/education related to their financial goals as well as maintenance training to prepare for their next journey into homeownership. 

1-2 full-time income earners for the household (generally, 2 FTE are needed, but if 1 FTE, the income must fall between 40-80% of Area Median Income given family size) 

applicants have been working in the U.S. for at least 1 year prior to applying for the program 

applicants are filing income taxes for all household income earned 

any collections accounts on applicant’s credit report are either resolved or below $500 total 

applicants are first-time homebuyers wanting to buy a home in the Aurora, IL community 

applicants are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or using an ITIN 

How it Works

The Neighbor Project owns or operates several apartments (mostly 2–4 unit apartment buildings) that are used as a powerful tool for savings. “Networked Savings” leverages the time and resources of 4 key players:

Program participants live at a Networked Saving property and pay the same rent they would otherwise pay (typically between $800 and $1200 a month for a family apartment in a duplex). The program lasts 18–24 months.

  • Before moving in, participants go through a 3-step application process (see fillable preliminary application below) to determine their eligibility (we assess credit, debt, income, savings and employment)
  • For the first 3-6 months of the program, 100% of your rent goes to TNP. You’ll complete a full credit assessment, register for personal finance classes and set up a personal savings account.
  • For 6–12 months, 50% of your rent goes to TNP and 50% goes into a savings account. You’ll take personal finance classes and hone your credit, will be paired with a maintenance partner to learn homeowner skills and attend customized workshops.
  • For 6–9 months, 100% of your rent goes into a savings account. You’ll finish finance classes, get realtor referrals and start looking for a home of your own.

In every case, Participants exit the program with a full year’s rent in savings (typically $10,000–$12,000), ready to purchase their first home. In 18–24 months, a family’s life trajectory can change forever.

Church Sponsors and Volunteers are the key support network of our 18-24 month program. Your church or small group can help expand our program to help more families by sponsoring a duplex for $400 a month—but it takes more than money. Sponsors provide volunteers to do maintenance and rehab projects on our savings unit properties, provide learning partnerships and build life-changing friendships with participating families. Without churches and volunteers, our program fails. With it, the future is rewritten.

Monthly Sponsors and One-time donors provide essential extra income, helping cover housing costs at a residence so participating families can save. Learn more.

Investors help purchase homes to be used as Networked Saving’s properties which help keep acquisition and rehab costs low. Contact us if you’re interested in making a socially beneficial investment with The Neighbor Project

There are other ways to invest in The Neighbor Project as well. Learn more on our Volunteer page.

Families interested in applying to participate in this program must be employed full-time for a full year, looking to be a first-time home-buyer and be between 30–80% of Area Median Income).


Why Homeownership?

There is a growing economic divide in our communities which leading financial institutions have shown creates a drag on overall economic growth. One driving force for this economic divide is asset-poverty (read more about assets here). A family can have a steady income, but have little to no assets. Assets provide margin and opportunity for growth and investment. Often times, families stuck in the cycle of disadvantage have never been given the tools or foundation needed to gain an asset.

In order for neighborhoods to prosper, that cycle must be disrupted and we do this primarily through homeownership; the greatest wealth-producing asset available. Studies have shown that this has tremendous effect on a families social and economic well-being, and gives families and their communities an opportunity to grow.

Homeownership also has profound individual and social benefit. High rates of homeownership in a community increases the tax base, improving the education system and attracting businesses, grocery stores, and financial institutions and investment to a neighborhood. Homeownership also creates stability for families—significantly increasing the rate at which children graduate high school and college.

Apply Here